Jefferey L. Burgess is an associate professor and the director of the Community, Environment and Policy Division at The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson, Arizona. His research includes respiratory toxicology in firefighters and smoke inhalation victims; reduction of mining-related injuries and exposures; environmental arsenic exposure; and hazardous materials exposures including methamphetamine laboratories. Dr. Burgess is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the CDC-funded Mountain West Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center as well as for research projects evaluating mining injury surveillance and arsenic exposure.
Dr. Burgess has a multi-pronged research program focusing on respiratory toxicology and, more recently, injury prevention. As PI and co-investigator, he has published manuscripts with researchers in respiratory sciences, cell biology, toxicology, and mining and geological engineering, as well as with fellow UA Zuckerman College of Public Health faculty and students.
“Our work in respiratory toxicology is focused predominantly on exposure to combustion products, has both acute and chronic exposure components, and includes firefighters, law enforcement personnel, underground miners and smoke inhalation victims,” Dr. Burgess said. “Combustion products are complex mixtures produced from structural and wildland fires, as well as from diesel engines. Our earlier work demonstrated acute respiratory changes associated with exposure to smoke during the overhaul phase of structural firefighting, but the long-term effects of these exposures are unknown.”
Since 2002, he has been a participant in university-wide health collaborations, such as the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and the Superfund Basic Research Program in the College of Pharmacy, the Arizona Cancer Center, Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, and Bio5, The University of Arizona’s collaborative bioresearch institute. He also currently holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering and works extensively with the department on mining health and safety issues.
In addition to his research, Dr. Burgess teaches public health classes in the area of environmental and occupational health, in which he has been the lead faculty in five different courses for the College as well as regularly giving guest lectures in additional courses. His service and outreach work has been with agencies such as the Arizona Attorney General’s Office Meth and Kids Committee (now Drug Endangered Children) and the National Working Group on Clean-up and Remediation of Methamphetamine Laboratories. He developed the meth lab cleanup standards that are currently used by the State of Arizona. He is also the chair of the Institutional Chemical Safety Committee at the UA.
At the national level, Dr. Burgess is an elected member of the Board of Trustees for the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology. He is an Associate Medical Director of the Washington Poison Center, which provides guidance for the treatment of poisoned patients. Dr. Burgess is American Board of Medical Specialties certified in occupational and environmental medicine, medical toxicology, and emergency medicine.
Dr. Burgess received his medical degree from the University of Washington in 1988. He also earned a master’s degree in toxicology and industrial hygiene from the UA in 1993 and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington in 1996.